Garibaldi biscuit

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Garibaldi biscuit
Garibaldi biscuit.jpg
Type Biscuit
Place of origin England
Creator Jonathan Carr
Main ingredients Currants, biscuits
Cookbook:Garibaldi biscuit  Garibaldi biscuit

The Garibaldi biscuit consists of currants squashed and baked between two thin, oblongs of biscuit dough - a sort of currant sandwich. In this respect, it has elements in common with the Eccles cake.

Popular with British consumers as a snack for over 150 years, the Garibaldi biscuit is conventionally consumed with tea or coffee, into which it may be dunked in informal social settings. The biscuits also exist under different names in other countries including Australia[1] and New Zealand.[2]


When bought in supermarkets in the UK (under several brands, all very similar), Garibaldi biscuits usually come in four strips of five biscuits each. They have a golden brown, glazed exterior and a moderately sweet pastry, but their defining characteristic is the layer of squashed fruit which gives rise to the colloquial names fly sandwiches, flies graveyards, dead fly biscuits or squashed fly biscuits, because the squashed fruit resemble squashed flies.[3]


The Garibaldi biscuit was named after Giuseppe Garibaldi, an Italian general and leader of the struggle to unify Italy. Garibaldi made a popular visit to South Shields in England in 1854. The biscuit was first manufactured by the Bermondsey biscuit company Peek Freans in 1861 following the recruitment of Jonathan Carr, one of the great biscuit makers of Carlisle. In the United States, the Sunshine Biscuit Company for many years made a popular version of the Garibaldi with raisins which it called "Golden Fruit". Sunshine was bought out by the Keebler Company which briefly expanded the line to include versions filled with other fruits. The entire Golden Fruit product line was discontinued when the Keebler company became a division of the Kellogg Company in 2001. Plain chocolate covered and milk chocolate covered varieties have also been marketed in the past, but appear not to have been available for many years.[4]

In popular culture[edit]

Garibaldis are the favourite tea biscuit of DCI Gene Hunt in the BBC shows Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes. They are also mentioned briefly in the prologue of Meera Syal's debut novel Anita and Me. Naomi Campbell, a character in British teen drama Skins, is fond of the biscuit. Inspector Japp offered one to Poirot in the episode "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe", about the death of Poirot's dentist. In the Doctor Who audio episode The Stuff of Nightmares, the fourth Doctor has a soggy Garibaldi. In Dinnerladies, Mr. Michael, the boss of HWD Components, is quite fond of them.

In the British sitcom Men Behaving Badly, Series 1, Episode 6, "My Brilliant Career" (1992), George (played by Ian Lindsay) tells his co-worker Anthea (played by Valerie Minifie), after Anthea hands him a package of biscuits, "I was wondering Anthea, maybe next week we could experiment, tentatively, with some Garibaldi."

In the British sitcom Oh, Doctor Beeching!, Series 1, Episode 4, "A Moving Story" (1996), May Skinner brings the Station Master some with his tea. Ethel Schumann says "We used to call them squashed fly biscuits" and Jack Skinner suggests they substitute biscuits with real squashed flies.

In the British TV comedy The Young Ones, Series 2, Episode 1, "Bambi" (1984), a train driver (Alexei Sayle) being held up by stereotypical Mexican bandits announces "It's quite interesting, you know, the number of biscuits that are named after revolutionaries. You've got your Garibaldi, of course, you've got your Bourbons, then of course you've got your Peek Freans Trotsky Assortment." [sings] "Revolutionary biscuits of Italy / Rise up out of your box! / You have nothing to lose but your wafers / Yum yum yum yum yum!"

In the British TV drama Marple, Series 5, Episode "The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side", Miss Marple offers Garibaldi (by name) to the two policemen interviewing her.

In an Argos Alien advertising campaign, the father asks his family if they would like a cup of tea, and the daughter says "Don't forget the Garibaldis!

In the British TV drama Upstairs Downstairs, Series 2, Episode 3, "A Perfect Specimen of Womanhood" (2012), Beryl the maid is offered Garibaldi (by name) by the Union Representative interviewing her at the "Girls Friendly Society" where she had gone to complain about the work load at 165 Eaton Place.

In the Christmas 2013 episode of Call the Midwife, Jenny Lee and her boyfriend share a Garibaldi.

Garibaldis are also mentioned several times in the novel The Wrong Boy by Willy Russell. They are the favourite biscuits of the main character's grandmother.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "FullO'Fruit". Arnotts Biscuits. 
  2. ^ "Fruitli". Griffins Biscuits. 
  3. ^ Wilson, Bee (24 August 2012). "The Kitchen Thinker: Garibaldi biscuits". Daily Telegraph. 
  4. ^ "Garibaldi Review: Your Views". 

External links[edit]